DCCC Chairman: House Health Care Bill Won’t Follow Senate in Taxing ‘Cadillac’ Plans

Oct 7, 2009 4:11pm

ABC News’ Rick Klein reports: With the Senate eyeing a new tax on high-end insurance plans to pay for health care reform, a large group of House Democrats is pushing back, as labor unions lead the charge in insisting that their members not bear the brunt of reform efforts. On ABCNews.com’s “Top Line” today, Rep. Chris Van Hollen, the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said House leaders are going in a different direction as they meld three separate bills for consideration by the full House. “It’s certainly not a preferred option if we even went down that road and I — no one is wanting to push forward on that road right now,” said Van Hollen, D-Md. “If we were to do it we would not do it in the way that the Senate has done it because, as you say, it’s not just union members, it’s a whole lot of working people who as part of their compensation packages have negotiated health care benefits. And when you just apply a tax to benefits — an effective tax to benefits — you also create huge inequities between people who are in the same job but maybe of different ages, depending on where they are within a particular area.” “So if we take a look at that, and we will explore all the options, we would not design it the way the Senate did, and we certainly wouldn’t have it go into effect at the levels the Senate is talking about. Van Hollen said he hasn’t yet seen a draft of a merged House bill, and said Democratic leaders are still figuring out — among other sticking points — how to design a “public option” as part of a health care reform package. “There continue to be questions about how we make sure we comply with the president’s threshold of $900 billion, that this not cost more than $900 billion [over 10 years],” he said. “As you know, we’ve substantially paid for this through savings found in waste, fraud, and abuse and changing the efficiencies within Medicare, but we’re also looking for other ways to cover the costs. . . . We made considerable progress on some issues that haven’t gotten a whole lot of public attention, but were major divisive issues within the caucus. For example, setting the issue of regional disparities, how we deal with providing for more healthy choices, the whole question of wellness — as you know that whole issue blew up in the Senate just the other day, and we think we’ve got a resolution to that issue in the House. So big pieces are coming together.” On the campaign front, Van Hollen said he didn’t agree with a new Gallup Poll that shows independent voters saying they would support Republican congressional candidates instead of Democrats in 2010. “Support for health care reform now seems to be increasing around the country,” he said. “I think most of the polling to date shows that while people have questions with respect to [Democrats'] policies, they have not gone to the Republicans. I’ll have to take a look at this particular poll, but consistently the polls that I’ve seen make it clear that while there are a lot of undecided people out there — a lot of people who are waiting to see where we move on particular issues — people consistently in the polls I’ve seen say that they know Republicans don’t have an answer on the big issues like health care, including independents. So let’s wait and see how all of this develops.” Click HERE to see the interview with Rep. Chris Van Hollen. We also checked in with Ana Marie Cox of Air America about President Obama’s Afghanistan deliberations, the ever-evolving relationship between Obama and Sen. John McCain, plus Tom DeLay’s exit from “Dancing With the Stars.” Watch the discussion with Ana Marie Cox HERE.

You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus